Today the trial begins in one of the most disturbing murder cases in recent Canadian memory. Almost three years ago, in May 2013, Tim Bosma, a 32-year-old father of one, said goodbye to his wife and went on a test drive with two men interested in buying his pick-up truck.
He never returned. More than a week later, police said he was dead, burned beyond recognition. His wife, Sharlene Bosma, said that his remains were returned to her in a small box, no bigger than a shoe box.
Bosma was the center of a massive manhunt and social media campaign. Soon after his disappearance police arrested Dellen Millard and charged him with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle.
"It was just a truck. A stupid truck," Sharlene Bosma told reporters during the agonizing period in which he was missing. "You don't need him, but I do. Our daughter needs her daddy."
It was on two properties owned by Millard, the heir to an aviation business, that police focused their search for Bosma. One of the properties, a farm in Ayr, Ontario, had an industrial incinerator on it.
Shortly after Bosma's remains were found, police charged Millard and Mark Smich with first-degree murder.
On approval from the Ontario attorney general's office, the case was pushed straight to trial, bypassing a preliminary hearing. The case is being tried by a judge and jury. One prospective juror, a friend of Bosma, was dismissed last week and mumbled "fuckers" as he stared at the accused.
Justice Andrew Goodman has told jurors that the case could last up to four months.
Early into the case police were investigating the death of Bosma as a possible "thrill killing." Police believe Bosma, a church-going contractor building his family's first home, was a random target. But police and the Crown, the prosecutors in Canada's legal system, have not publicly indicated exactly what they think happened. The Crown is expected to lay out Bosma's final minutes, including how and why he was killed, when the trial starts today.
Much of the media surrounding the death, which made international headlines, was focused on Millard, a millionaire party kid who at the age of 14 was already flying helicopters and planes.
In a jailhouse interview with the Toronto Star Millard denied being involved in Bosma's death.
"I didn't do it ... They might as well accuse me of having been to the moon. There's nothing real about it," he said.
Millard and Smich are also charged with the first-degree murder of Laura Babcock, who disappeared in 2012 and whose body has never been discovered. She was friends with Millard.
Millard is facing another first-degree charge in the shooting death of his 71-year-old father. Wayne Millard's November 2012 death had previously been ruled a suicide.
The latter two trials are taking place separately from the Bosma trial, but both of the murder charges came after Millard's arrest in relation to the Bosma case.
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